CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Ken Adams

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Bits and Pieces from Indian Country - June 2003

30 June 2003

California remains the leading story in Indian gaming. During the last year California Indian gaming has seen dramatic expansion.  Two new casinos opened in June and tribal employment leads the state in growth.  However, unionization continues to be controversial with the sides trading insults with very strong language.

Tribal governments continue to far outpace all other California private and public sector employers in job growth, registering a 12-percent increase in employment for the year ending May 31, according to state figures.  No other industry with more than 20,000 workers experienced job growth anywhere near the figures posted by California's tribal governments, according to figures released June 11 by the state Employment Development Department. In fact, virtually all state employers reported a loss of jobs for the year.  PRNewswire, Yahoo Finance, 6-18-03

A wage and benefits dispute between a hotel workers union and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs has escalated into a personal feud between the tribal chairman and a group of activist clergy.  "In all my years in Palm Springs, I would never have believed that a priest would behave like a common thug and peddle the union's lies," Milanovich wrote in a letter to casino employees.  "It is a sad day when people believe that this conduct is acceptable."  The personal sniping underlines how the effort by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union to organize the workers at the tribe's two Coachella Valley casinos has intensified in recent weeks.   Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, 6-28-03

The fight in California over new tribal casinos is also reaching new levels.  Several communities and the state have been fighting Indian casinos in specific locations, but the only place that opposition to tribal gaming can be really effective is in federal legislation.  Senator Feinstein of California has introduced legislation to stop the introduction of a casino near Sears Point.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein will introduce legislation today that could force an American Indian tribe to move its proposed casino near Sears Point to another site, according to her spokesman. Feinstein's bill would allow the U.S. Department of the Interior to impose strict environmental regulation of the proposal's impacts – an ability the department lacks.  Official entry into the casino fight today by Feinstein, D-Calif., is a step forward for North Bay casino opponents and represents what is perhaps their only hope in getting the tribe to divert its gaming plans.  Michael Flaherty, Marin Independent Journal, 6-26-03

Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria …owns an acre of land in Graton, near Sebastopol. It lost its federal status as a tribe in 1958 and did not regain it until 2000, thanks to legislation by Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. At that time, the tribe pledged to never go into gaming.  Now, Sarris said the tribe needs gaming to lift its members from poverty -- 54 percent earn less than $30,000 annually and 32 percent earn less than $20, 000 -- and provide adequate housing and health care. …Patrick Wofford, a spokesman for Sonoma Citizens to Stop the Casino, said Sarris changed his approach after the tribe gained federal recognition in 2001.  Wofford said, "The credibility of the casino backers is already broken.  This is a bad deal for the environment, a bad deal for our community, and a very bad deal for the American democratic process."  Pamela J. Podger, San Francisco Chronicle, 6-7-03

The governor of California, Grey Davis, made headlines earlier in the year, saying he expected $6 billion in additional revenue from Indian casinos.  It was not clear to anyone, probably including Davis, exactly how that would happen.  Negotiations for new compacts did begin, but there has been little news about the details or progress.  It may be that Davis is too busy fighting for political survival to give Indian gaming much thought.

The state attorney general calls efforts to recall Gov. Davis "a profound threat to democracy." The lieutenant governor calls it an "expensive perversion" of the recall process. The state treasurer describes it as an "odious use" of the system.  …So, if Davis faces a recall, who would the alternatives be? The possibilities include some of the usual suspects, including the man who lost to Davis last time. But the list of potential governors also includes the Terminator and Meathead. And not everyone at the Capitol is convinced that the Democrats who bowed out last week would resist the temptation to run.  The recall drive has yet to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures of voter support needed to qualify for what would be a history-making election this fall or next spring.  Still, there is now a swarm of public figures with gubernatorial ambitions who are hurriedly polling and strategizing, trying to decipher how dozens of possible ballot scenarios might affect their odds should the window of opportunity present itself.  Margaret Talev, Modesto Bee, 6-22-03

Elsewhere, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington opened a new casino, their second.  Ten years ago Tulalip opened a small-table-games-only casino just out of Marysville, Washington.  Ten years later, with a town of its own, the tribe opened a much larger and more complete casino.  Tulalip is illustrative of the process of Indian gaming and the way tribes view casinos and the future of their tribe.  It also shows why sovereignty is so important to Indian tribes.  In Idaho the tribes won in court, validating the results of a ballot imitative that enables expanded gaming.  And in Arizona and New Mexico, the Zuni tribe sells its slot options, gets the gaming payback without casinos.

Tulalip Tribes, who just a decade ago had nothing but a dying fishing industry and a valuable reservation to keep them afloat, the opening of the new casino symbolized an exciting new era of economic development.  … "It's been just a long, long road," said tribal Chairman Herman Williams Jr. "We passed the resolution in January 1999 that we wanted to be the biggest and the best in the Northwest, and I think we've succeeded." …The Tulalip Tribes opened their first casino, a converted bingo hall, in 1992. Despite its small size, smoky air and overcrowded parking lot, the first casino was extremely successful. The tribes won't release revenue figures or estimates of how many people visited the old casino, but in the past three years they've bought back 2,400 acres of reservation land. They have built a school and created drug- and alcohol-rehabilitation programs. A new tribal health clinic is slated to open in August.  Tribal leaders say the new casino's revenues are vital for a community that doesn't want to be dependent on gaming. The tribes already opened the Quil Ceda Village business park along Interstate 5 near Marysville. The development includes Wal-Mart and Home Depot stores. Casino revenue will drive a slew of other developments, including a hotel and conference center, outlet stores and a water park, tribal leaders say.  …The new casino cost $78 million. The tribes bill it as "Las Vegas-style gambling," and the huge building houses four restaurants, 2,000 slot machines and 49 gaming tables.  Emily Heffter, Seattle Time, 6-6-03

The Idaho Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Indian gambling initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall.  The high court this week said it lacks the "original jurisdiction" to hear the lawsuit.  "The voters of Idaho and the State Supreme Court have spoken on this issue," Coeur d'Alene Tribal Chairman Ernie Stensgar said Monday.  "We hope that Indian gaming opponents will now honor the will of the people and the court, so we all can stop spending precious time and money in court and get on with our efforts to provide jobs and revenues for the people of Idaho."  Associated Press, Las Vegas Sun, 6-6-03

A gaming pact was reached between the Pueblo and the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, which could mean more than $3 million a year income for Zuni.  Dan Simplicio, tribal council member, said no casino will be on Pueblo of Zuni lands, either in Arizona or New Mexico. The tribe has more than 450,000 acres in New Mexico and Arizona, about 400,000 acres of it in New Mexico.  The agreement allows the transfer of 475 slot machine licensing rights to the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, Ariz. The Gila River Indian Community has three Arizona gaming facilities, one in Wild Horse Pass, one in Vee Quiva and one in Lone Butte. The 475 slot machines the Gila River Indian Community can buy with the Zuni licensing rights will be added to the community's allocation.  Simplicio said in return for the licensing rights the pueblo will get more than $3 million a year.  Tom Purdom, Gallup Independent, 6-27-03

Any place on the planet that does not have a casino is probably considering one. Israel, Thailand, India and Guam are talking about it today.  Any place that does have a casino is probably trying to figure out how to get more money from it.  Every casino has more competition than it had last year and will have more next year.  In general, the business is simply more complex, competitive and costly and the margins are deteriorating.  The biggest players will continue to do well, and the rest of us will be trying to trade failed casinos for a piece of Pacific Ocean beach.

Ken Adams

Ken Adams is the principal in the gaming consulting firm, Ken Adams and Associates. Formed in 1990, Ken Adams and Associates specializes in information, analysis, and strategic planning for Indian tribes, casino operations and gaming manufacturers.

Ken spent over 20 years in the hotel-casino industry, prior to founding Ken Adams and Associates. He held the positions of: Director of Casino Operations, Casino Manager, and Keno Department Manager. During this time, he developed numerous innovative marketing and customer development programs and systems for evaluating casino performance. Some of those programs, such as slot clubs and tournaments, have become industry standards.

Ken is also actively involved in gathering and disseminating information that is important to the gaming industry. He is editor and publisher of and the Adams' Report, a monthly newsletter specializing in identifying trends in casino gaming, regulation and manufacturing, the Adams Daily Report, an electronic newsletter that provides electronic links to the key gaming stories of the day, and the Adams Review, a special report distributed by Compton Dancer Consulting that provides editorial commentary on gaming trends.
Ken Adams
Ken Adams is the principal in the gaming consulting firm, Ken Adams and Associates. Formed in 1990, Ken Adams and Associates specializes in information, analysis, and strategic planning for Indian tribes, casino operations and gaming manufacturers.

Ken spent over 20 years in the hotel-casino industry, prior to founding Ken Adams and Associates. He held the positions of: Director of Casino Operations, Casino Manager, and Keno Department Manager. During this time, he developed numerous innovative marketing and customer development programs and systems for evaluating casino performance. Some of those programs, such as slot clubs and tournaments, have become industry standards.

Ken is also actively involved in gathering and disseminating information that is important to the gaming industry. He is editor and publisher of and the Adams' Report, a monthly newsletter specializing in identifying trends in casino gaming, regulation and manufacturing, the Adams Daily Report, an electronic newsletter that provides electronic links to the key gaming stories of the day, and the Adams Review, a special report distributed by Compton Dancer Consulting that provides editorial commentary on gaming trends.